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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Race to Refuge is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novella written by Kyle D. Pratt. Ryan Palmer had been doing some last-ditch cramming before an upcoming exam when he was suddenly woken up by the repeated banging on his front door. Then he heard Amy’s panic-stricken voice asking him to let her in. When he let her in, she pushed past him and turned on the television. He noticed she was still wearing her running clothes and had obviously just ended her run. He heard the newscaster’s announcement about a Chinese missile attack and the president’s heightening of the US armed forces to DEFCON level two. His dad called up soon after that. He wanted Ryan to come back home to Idaho right away. Ryan’s dad was a prepper and had trained him to keep a bugout bag ready just in case. Ryan and Amy quickly got ready to leave his apartment; then they stopped by her dorm to pick up some clothing. The roads were getting busier and busier as people began leaving Seattle in droves. The unthinkable had begun.
Race to Refuge is a fast-paced and enthralling tale that follows Ryan and Amy as they join the exodus from Seattle. Pratt’s plot is credible and filled with the unexpected, and his characters feel authentic and complex. I couldn’t help but chortle as Amy leaves the restrooms at a park they stop in with an angry face over the dirty conditions of the lavatories. That incongruity, however, captures rather eloquently the characters’ inability to completely comprehend the gravity of the situation. While post-apocalyptic fiction is not ordinarily my science fiction of choice, I had a grand time reading Pratt’s story. It’s well written and thought-provoking. Race to Refuge is most highly recommended.